One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A stout stick or cudgel, especially one with a knob at the end.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Freeman's Journal. From Irish ailpín small knob, kind of stick with a knob at the end, apparently from ailp protuberance, lump, knob (Early Irish alp, of unknown origin) + -ín, perhaps ultimately after English alpenstock (although this is first attested later) or its German etymon.
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